Sermon: The Apostle Peter’s Timeless Reminder 2 Peter 1:12-15

The Apostle Peter’s Timeless Reminder

2 Peter 1:12-15

Truth Taught- We must continually be reminded of biblical truth so that we do not lose focus on what matters most.


If you had a short time to live and you wrote someone you loved, what would you tell them? You might tell them not to worry because you know where you are going.  You would, no doubt, encourage them to remain faithful to Christ and to persevere to the end.  You might remind them about what really matters in this life and to not get sidetracked by lesser things.

That’s what Peter does in the opening of his final epistle, he reminds his fellow Christians about what really matters, how to remain faithful in this life, and bids them a fond farewell.  He knows that his death is near and he is ready to go be with Jesus.

Peter is not concerned really about himself.  He knows his death is quickly approaching and where he is going.  His concern is for those he loves that he will be leaving behind.  Will they be faithful followers of Christ after he’s gone?  Will they fight the good fight?  Will they endure to the end?  Peter writes to encourage their perseverance by way of reminder.

Please Stand

2 Peter 1:12–15 (ESV)

12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

1.  The Purpose of 2 Peter is to Help Us Remember (1:12)

12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have.

We need reminders, don’t we?  We need repetition, don’t we?  We need to be reminded over and over again what is important in this life and what is not important.  We can so easily be sidetracked by lesser things.    

Here, because salvation is so great and Christ such a great Savior, Peter is writing an entire Epistle to remind his readers…therefore

2 Peter 3:1 (ESV)

3 This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder,

Peter’s goal is to bring back into the forefront of our minds the things that are most important.

Here’s what the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy at the end of his life…Remember

2 Timothy 2:8–10 (ESV)

Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

1 Corinthians 15:1–2 (ESV)

15 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

Beloved, we too must remember.  By way of repetition, we are faithful in practicing the Lord’s Supper to remember all Jesus has done for us.  We need to be reminded time and again.

One crucial works of the Holy Spirit is to bring to memory the teachings of Jesus…

John 14:26 (ESV)

26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

Peter tells us that we have been established by all the truths we have believed.  We have the firm foundation of Jesus Christ but we must build on this foundation.  Do not forget to build virtue upon the foundation God has supplied.

Once Peter is gone, who will tell the Christians how to mature in their faith and how to persevere?

though you know them and are established in the truth that you have.

The recipients of Peter’s Epistle had received and believed other writings considered Scripture.  Peter was not telling them anything new.  His goal is to build them up in the truth they had already received and believed and had been established.

Nothing new here.  We must be on guard against new teachings of new doctrine.  Everywhere else new and improved is good.  When it comes to biblical truth, there is no new thing that’s good.  What God has called us to believe is the old, old story not a new one.  The truth originally proclaimed by the Prophets and Apostles; the age-old story is what we must cling to.  This is exactly Peter’s purpose in writing.

Peter was reminding them because a threat was approaching.  False teachers were on the move ready to infiltrate the Church.  They must be able to defend the truth in light of these twisters of truth.

J C Ryle from his book entitled Holiness wrote this very timely and timeless quote over 100 years ago…

There is much in the attitude of professing Christians in this day which fills me with concern and makes me full of fear for the future. There is an amazing ignorance of Scripture among many, and a consequent want of established, solid religion. In no other way can I account for the ease of which people are, like children, tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine. There is an Athenian love of novelty abroad and a morbid distaste for anything old and regular, in the beaten path of our forefathers. Thousands will crowd to hear a new voice and a new doctrine without considering for a moment whether what they hear is truth. There is an incessant craving after any teaching which is sensational and exciting and rousing to the feelings. Inability to distinguish differences in doctrine is spreading far and wide, and as long as the preacher is clever and earnest, hundreds seem to think it must be all right, and call you dreadfully narrow and uncharitable if you hint that he is unsound.

That was from the first part of the book. Let me read you from the last part:

“The times require at our hands distinct and decided views of Christian views of Christian doctrine. I cannot withhold my conviction that the professing church of the 19th century is as much damaged by laxity and lack of distinctness about matters of doctrine within as it is by skeptics and unbelievers without. Today a myriad of professing Christians seem utterly unable to distinguish things that differ. Like people afflicted with color blindness, they are incapable of discerning what is true and what is false, what is sound and what is unsound. They are destitute of spiritual sense, apparently, and cannot detect error. These people live in a kind of mist, or fog. They are eaten up with a morbid dread of controversy, and an ignorant dislike of ‘party spirit’, and yet they really cannot define what they mean by these phrases.

“The explanation of this boneless, nerveless, jelly-fish condition of soul is not difficult to find. Above all, the natural heart generally likes the praise of others, shrinks from collision, and loves to be thought charitable and liberal. For your own soul’s sake, dare to make up your mind what you believe. Dare to have positive, distinct views of truth and error. Never, yes never, be afraid to hold decided doctrinal opinions. And let no fear of man, and no morbid dread of being thought party-spirited, narrow or controversial, make you rest contented with a bloodless, boneless, tasteless, colorless, lukewarm, undogmatic Christianity. 

We live in a day when so much false teaching has been disguised as truth that the Church for the most part cannot distinguish truth from false doctrine and even worse has scoffed at the truth because they have never heard it before.

The Church in Peter’s Day and in our day is in desperate need of being reminded of biblical truth.

2.  As Long as Peter is Alive He Will Stir Up Faithfulness Among the Churches (1:13)

13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder,

Peter is like good parents who will never cease to remind their children of good and important things.  You remind your children when they are little to look both ways before crossing the street.  You have sought to be their guide as they grew into adulthood.  A good parent lets go a little but always remains a source of wisdom and truth their children can learn from.  Do not ever stop learning from your parents.

Peter is more accurately a good Shepherd of Jesus’ flock.  His attitude is as long as I’m in this tent/body I will continue to stir you up into godliness.  Here it’s literally, I will keep waking you up and clear your mind and thoughts.  I will keep you from being lulled to sleep spiritually.

On the eve of the cross, Peter was at his lowest.  Satan was sifting him.  As Jesus led them up to the mountain to pray, Peter fell asleep.

Matthew 26:36–40 (ESV)

36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour?

Peter, no doubt, remembered this terrible time in his own life when he failed…when he should have been awake but fell asleep.  God had granted Peter such great repentance that he would never ever fall asleep again.  His Epistle is a waking up of the Churches because the enemy is approaching.  Peter is the watchman on the wall who will blast the warning…wake up the enemy is approaching!!

3.  Focus on Biblical Truth, Because Life is Short (1:14-15)

14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

Last week, we focused on what Peter taught on a Christians assurance and how to tell that faith is genuine.  He listed those virtues that we addressed and said that if you have them and they are increasing then you can be assured that your faith is truly a saving faith.  Here, he gives us one other…

You can know your salvation is genuine by how you view your own death.

The old writers like Calvin, Luther, and even JC Ryle drew a line between believers and unbelievers on the basis of how they viewed death. We ought to learn something from Peter. What really matters? Was he thinking about taking a trip to see the sights Mediterranean during his final days on earth? No. He was writing a letter to remind the Church of what they already knew!  That is why Peter was an apostle. He talked about the urgency he felt for them because he was about to lay aside his earthly dwelling. He was about to fold up this tent, the putting off of my body.

2 Corinthians 5:1–9 (ESV)

5 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.

One day God will raise that tent. It will be remade with glory indescribable, and I will move back in. Peter, after his departure, wants them at any time, at all times, to be able to call these things to mind. That is what I want to do with my life. I want to constantly remind you so that in every situation, at all times, whenever the need arises, you remember it. We get into trouble because we are like our kids, We say, “Oh, yeah, I know. I know.” Then a situation comes up and catches us off guard. We were not ready. Peter says, “I do not want that to happen. I want you to call these things to mind at any time after my departure.”

I want you to note two things that we have looked at in these verses. One, there is a lot of repetition. “I want to remind you. I want to remind you. I want you to remember.” Because of that emphasis on reminding and remembering, the importance of the truth that God has given has been strongly emphasized in these verses Acts 2:42 says the people in the early church “…were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching…” That was not to change after the apostles passed off the scene. Note 1 Timothy 3:15: “…the church of the living God (is) the pillar and support of the truth.”

If we are really committed to truth as God’s truth, we also must have the Apostle Peter’s attitude toward death. I am called to devote myself to the ministry of His truth in the context of His body until He calls me into His presence. In reality, there is no retirement from the service of our God. There may be opportunity for you, because of your retirement from your profession to devote more time and energy to God’s service because you are free from certain other responsibilities at certain points in time. But we are not free. We are His servants and slaves, and this life should be a battle, a warfare, a daily grind until He calls us into His presence. Then we have all eternity to enjoy glory, to enjoy the fullness of the rest that God has prepared for His people. May we individually and as a church be focused on truth until we are called into His presence through death or at His return.

God called the Apostle Peter home.  Peter walked out, folded up his tent was escorted into glory and opened his eyes and his work was over.  Now was the time for Peter to rest. 


Are you serving Christ now?

Are you standing firm in truth or looking for something else?

How do you view death?  Is it scary or something you actually look forward to one day?


Resources Used:

1 & 2 Peter and Jude by Thomas Schreiner

Jude and 2 Peter by Gene L. Green

The Letters of 2 Peter and Jude by Peter H. Davids

Word Biblical Commentary by Richard Bauckham

1&2 Peter by Alexander Nisbet
A Reminding of God’s Basic Truths
by Gil Rugh

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